i’ve always been fascinated by the concept of beauty and what makes someone feel attractive or unattractive. years ago i felt driven to start a personal project for my photography website that would examine the uncomfortable, secretive feelings of self-doubt.
i created posts on craigslist and other online classifieds titled, “if you feel ugly or unattractive – i want to take your picture.” i mentioned that i wanted to take a simple portrait and record an audio interview of each participant to explain why they felt ugly or unattractive. i ended up shooting and interviewing four people – but my vision for the project was a little shortsighted and i wasn’t happy with how i shot the portraits. the project eventually lost steam and got put on the cold, cold back burner for six years.
recently i decided to light the fire on the back burner and make this project happen. i changed the art direction of the portraits, and traded the audio interviews for video interviews. i posted the same online classified ads and found more people willing to be a part of my project.
i am unbeautiful explores the hidden sadness, pain, fear, and delicate insecurities rooted in the quest to feel and appear beautiful.
josh maready is a photographer and cinematographer in nyc.